Filmmaker and writer David Lowery (Aint Them Bodies Saints, Pioneer, St. Nick) will be hosting the Opening Night Shorts Program on Wednesday May 8, 2013 for the Maryland Film Festival. With a film of his own at the festival and headed to Cannes, David is gaining respect and recognition with each of his projects. Here he briefs us on what’s new.
What is your history with and memories of the Maryland Film Fest?
I first came to the Maryland Film Festival in 2008, when they showed my short film A Catalog of Anticipations. They were kind enough to invite me back in 2009 with my first feature film, ST. NICK, and then again in 2011 when my short film Pioneer was part of the Opening Night shorts program. By that point, my love for the festival was deeply entrenched. The programming is exceptional, and so are the conversations they foster amongst filmmakers. My favorite memory is actually plural – every year, walking back and forth between the Charles Theater and the Tent Village, inevitably engaged in some great conversation about who knows what (movies, often, but also everything else) with filmmaker friends both new and old. The festival is so conducive to conversing with one’s peers that I imagine that’s how the Filmmakers Conference came about, in 2011.
I’m hearing so much about Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which is headed for Cannes. What do you think is speaking to audiences as they view this film?
AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS is meant to feel like an old folk song. It’s going to sound familiar but maybe the key is a little different than you’ve heard before, or the lyrics have be changed a bit. It’s not an new story, but our hope was to take that not-newness and spin it into something elegant and classical, and to catch audiences off guard with the emotional sincerity creeping out from the old fashioned tropes we’re playing with.
You’ll be teaming up with Disney to write a remake of a remake of Pete’s Dragon. What is your vision for the film and what was your connection to it before this project?
It’s a terrific opportunity. Toby Halbrooks (my writing partner, who also produced Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) and I have just begun writing it. Our intent is simply to write a really good movie. Not a kids’ movie, not a family film – just a good movie, the kind that you can enjoy as a child but that gets better as you grow up. In many ways, our approach feels like a natural off-shoot of my films St. Nick and Pioneer, which were also all about childhood, imagination and growing up. I keep messing around in the same wheelhouse.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints facebook page.